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Return of the Stinkbugs

They’re building strength for a fall assault

Bay Weekly readers are asking me where the stinkbugs are.
    Stinkbugs may not have plagued you this summer, but I can assure you that they are building their population.
    After my fall, I have not been able to spray my few remaining peach trees or my vegetable garden. Surveying the peach trees, I could not find one peach that had not been infested with stinkbug stings. Every remaining peach was cat-faced from stings, with several stinkbugs actively feeding on them.

Stop that
Tomato Thief!

Q  I am forwarding a question from my 89-year-old neighbor, Mr. Artie, whose tomatoes are being raided and depleted by a hungry squirrel. The squirrel steals the ripe tomatoes, takes them up the tree, eats half, and drops the rest off of his branch. This means that Mr. Artie has very few viable tomatoes and is also getting firebombed by a squirrel. Any suggestions that would naturally repel the thief?
     –Diana Beechener, Pasadena
Tell Mr. Artie to hang bags of mothballs over the tomato plants at 10-foot intervals. Old nylon stockings make great bags for mothballs.

Ask Dr. Gouin your questions at [email protected]. All questions will appear in Bay Weekly. Please include your name and address.

Gardening through
the Seasons

Fans of The Bay Gardener will want the bound volume of his wisdom. Enough Said: A Guide to Gardening Through the Seasons, compiled by the Annapolis Horticulture Society, is on sale for $20 at Greenstreet Gardens in Lothian, Homestead Gardens in both Davidsonville and Severna Park and at Grauel’s Office Supplies in Deale. For direct orders, [email protected], add $10 postage. The Bay Gardener will inscribe your book and send it by return mail.

    The last batch of sweet corn that I harvested had only partially filled ears because most of the silk had been eaten by the stinkbugs. As I was picking the corn, stinkbugs were crawling over my hands and up my arms. Stinkbugs are also visibly crawling on the tomatoes.
    I have seen stinkbugs varying in size from as little as the head of a pencil eraser to as big as a nickel, and in colors from pale greenish-white to gray brown.
    As soon as the weather cools, they will be looking for warm winter quarters. Last year, I discovered that hanging pheromone traps 25 feet or so away from the house caught many. We seemed to have had fewer entering the house. Don’t place the traps near the house or entrance because the traps collect less than half of the insects it attracts.
    A friend goes to the liquor store for cardboard boxes with dividers. She closes the cover, punches small holes in the side of the boxes and places them here and there on her property. When the weather gets cold and she sees that they have a hefty population settling in for the winter, she burns the boxes in a bonfire. I never dared to ask her if they stunk.
    Stinkbugs like to overwinter in close quarters, such as under shingles, in cracks in walls or in lumber. Take care when bringing in firewood because if the wood has been split, there are likely many cracks for the stinkbugs to hide in.